Events like the Las Vegas shooting and now the Florida school shooting inevitably bring questions to people’s minds. Where was God? How could He let such a thing happen? For those who have been affected by the shooting, there are no words we can say that can assuage the grief. There is no answer that will make the pain go away. We can stand in solidarity with you, offering up our own grief and our own suffering, and reminding you that we are all in this world together. All we can do is our part, and our hearts and our prayers have been with you since we heard the news.
Friends, we are called to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), but we are not to “grieve like those who have no hope.” (1Thessalonians 4:13) We serve a God of love and justice, and no act—no matter how small or how large—goes unseen. Weep with those who weep, but not like those who have no hope. Click To Tweet
This podcast is in no way intended to reach those directly affected by the shootings, because words are empty and hollow in such a time as this. However, there are a lot of you Mama Bears out there that are probably getting some questions that you don’t feel prepared to answer. Ecclesiastes 7:4 says that “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.” It is amazing how the mundane, first-world problems of everyday life seem to melt away in the wake of true suffering. And while we don’t hope for these moments, or wish them upon anyone, we would be unwise to not seize upon the brief window of time that we have when our kid’s eyes are towards things that matter—things of eternal significance.
In today’s podcast, we address how to talk to kids who are asking questions about evil in the world, as well as getting to the root of the questions that they aren’t asking aloud. Join us as we wade through this incredibly delicate, but important topic. Conversations of significance often start with questions that terrify us. Click To Tweet
Why Does God Allow Evil? By Clay Jones
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
How to Respond to a Child Questioning Evil in the World:
- Affirm their grief and recognize first and foremost that he/she is exercising empathy.
- Talk about feelings. Ask how the event makes them feel. Teach them to analyze their own emotions. This is an important skill in self-regulating out of fight-or-flight and into rationality.
4 Sub-Questions Kids Are Really Trying to Ask:
- Is God really all-loving? Is He Good?
- Free will issue in creating Man.
- Obedience vs. heart change
- Is God really all-powerful? Could He have stopped this?
- Is God really all-knowing? Did He know this was going to happen?
- Am I safe?
The Food Game
Ask your child to tell you one food that he loves, one that he hates, and one that he finds boring.
Then ask if he would prefer to live in a world where he could eat the food he loves, but would also have to eat the food he hates, or in a world where only the boring food is available. This is akin to living in a world that has all the good and bad of free will, or only a bland, regulated existence.
Epicurus – A 4th Century B.C. Greek philosopher who developed a philosophy of living free of pain and in search of continual pleasure.
Job – A man of great suffering in the Bible. Job questions why God would allow his family to die and hardships to occur.
Søren Kierkegaard – A 19th century Danish Christian Philosopher. Mentioned here is his wondering if his family’s wealth was a hindrance to his growth and character.
C.S. Lewis A 20th century professor, writer, radio broadcaster, and champion for the Christian faith. He is brought up here in context of free will and viewing humans as being sub-rulers given much responsibility.
- The Problem of Evil – The age-old dilemma of trying to reconcile the all-powerful, all loving, and all knowing nature of God with the presence of evil in the world. As phrased by Natasha Crain: “If God is all good, He would eliminate evil. If God is all-powerful, He could eliminate evil. Evil exists, therefore 1. God doesn’t exist. He exists but he is not all good, or 3. He exists but he is not all-powerful.”
- The Fight or Flight Instinct – The ability of the human brain to perceive and initiate reaction to danger.
- Theodicy – An answer or explanation for the Problem of Evil.
- Free Will – Possessing agency, or the ability to control the choices one makes, rather than a higher power forcing a decision to act.
“It’s when someone’s not suffering that is the best time to address suffering.” – Hillary Morgan Ferrer
“You do not only suffer the consequences of your own good and bad [decisions], but you also suffer the consequences of someone else’s good and bad [decisions].” – Hillary Morgan Ferrer
“Do we want a God whom we can tame?” -Rebekah Valerius